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Service Design (MA)

Ivana D Monson

When given the opportunity to speak on her life's passions Ivana is excited to engage her audience with a powerful narrative. At the same time, a candid conversation is an equally stimulating way to work through her thoughts. Either way, storytelling is often where Ivana finds herself thriving.

Ivana hails from Southern California where she earned her bachelor of science degree in Industrial design and entrepreneurship at California State University, Long Beach in 2013. In these early years, she adopted a variety of skill sets that strengthened her ability to communicate complex ideas with clarity and conviction.

Outside the design studio, you will likely find her exploring the world with her husband Vizal, petting a cat, or tossing a disc with her old college ultimate frisbee teammates.

An overhead view of a group of designers working on creative projects with Ivana at the center

Before coming to the RCA Ivana worked professionally designing commercial spaces and environments for various brands and industries, Serving multi-million dollar clients such as Westfield Group, VF Corp, WeWork, Nike and more. The opportunity to work on a diverse range of projects allowed her to explore her interests and hone her technical skills, including graphic design, 3D modelling and rendering, presentation, client relations and people management.

In the course of her career, she found a love for delving into complex challenges, mapping possible solutions and leading teams to greater heights. As a design director, she believes in leading with compassion and honesty, asking the right questions and sharing openly in the creative process. Ivana's greatest achievement is managing a happy, healthy design team that consistently delivered outstanding work and never failed to wow clients.

Wanting to expand her horizons to work on systemic challenges and make a meaningful impact, she came to study service design at the RCA. She now finds that genuine curiosity informs her design process, following a constant thirst for how we might make the world a little bit better. Her practice, while a work in progress, has come to mean developing empathy for marginalised groups of people with an understanding that what works for one will not always work for another.

Hero image showing hand reaching through phone to sample food from another dimension

Preserves is a platform to connect lovers of gastronomy with local farmers around the world through "Stories of Terroir." There is a commonly held belief that how good something tastes has as much to do with the ingredients as the hands that make it. This sentiment is deeply held in traditional farming practices in rural Croatia, where each piece of land and the family that works it, has their own unique story to be shared. 


Croatian family farms lack the support needed to preserve generations of traditional cultural practices and share their unique terroir products with the world.

As new generations of tourists flock to find authentic experiences, there are over concentrations on familiar and well-trodden paths, leaving "undiscovered" regions economically disadvantaged. Working with traditional, sustainability-oriented family farmers in Croatia who are making unique artisan products, this project explored how to build economic stability in these regions. 

Ivana studied the wider international Croatian diaspora and identified different archetypes of gastro tourists, gaining insights into how to extend their experiences and satisfy their curiosity. 

The service employs a 3 prong omnichannel approach:

  • Digital map where users can explore the "must tastes" of each region around the world
  • Subscription sample boxes with seasonal terroir products delivered to your door  
  • Exclusive seasonal events hosted by local farm communities

Example of Terroir and their influences: Soil, climate, terrain and tradition
Diagram of 3 key stakeholders, ; family farmer, gastro-explorer, diaspora
Images rotate showing archetypes; family farmer, diaspora and gastro-explorer
Croatian farmer pets his pigs
Illustration of computer displaying Preserves website with ''Must Taste'' Map

Mapping Feature

The mapping feature builds travel logs of food and drink experiences across the whole traveller journey to provide a unique service far removed from existing location review sites.

A map of key gastronomy identifies each region, ensuring users never miss out on the best each land has to offer. i.e. you haven't really visited ___________if you haven't tried ______________

Users can then effortlessly document their own taste experiences by taking a picture, something so many of us do already! The AI platform aggregates information found online related to the geolocation and visual of the food pictured. ‘Stories, recipes, etc. Publicly posted on a community map are the image and coordinates, giving online viewers a clue as to what they may find if they visit a particular region.

Essentially creating a treasure map of “hidden gems”, powered by a hybrid of community input and AI. 

you haven't really vivsited blank, if you haven't tried blank
Taking photo of cake and generating web content through AI

Sample Boxes & Seasonal Events

Preserves takes great care to give family farms the opportunity for additional revenue streams through the sample boxes and seasonal events, without overwhelming their operations by organizing small coalitions of farms that contribute to each of these services in rotation.

The sample boxes can serve as an introductory experience that extends awareness and curiosity of new farms and foods with beautifully packaged samples, detailed information and suggestions to inspire gastro travellers to visit the less travelled locations. These samples can also be a way to reflect back on amazing travel experiences and relive them through the sensation of taste.

Seasonal events are a great way for travellers to have an authentic experience and connect with local people. These events are exclusive, with each region hosting only one event per season. For example, say you are interested in learning how to make Rakija, a Croatian speciality liquor that’s brewed in the fall. Preserves will publish an event with a maximum number of attendees scheduled in a secret location. Family farms within a particular region join forces for one week to host an event and share their family practice through workshops and tastings. Drawing guests to otherwise low-traffic parts of the country for a unique and authentic experience. 

The Preserves platform fosters a community of respect, coordinating efforts to support local family farmers and deliver authentic sought-after products & experiences.

Coaltion of family farms contributing to sample box
Preserves sample boxes
Map of farmer coalitions and web page booking seasonal events
Map showing farmer coalition hosting event making liquor
quote "knowing there are people that love our food...that believe in what we're's like rain in a drought."
Carol and Natalya – Carol is a host in the UK who has opened her home to a Ukrainian refugee, Natalya. They each share their perspective as they struggle to navigate the myriad of challenges that come with fleeing war and resettling in a new country.

The Royal College of Art partnered with The White Eagle Appeal and design agency Hellon to expand services to the Ukrainian refugee community and to help define a system that could be scaled. The White Eagle Club in Balham, South London, is a Polish community centre and became a UK volunteer and donation hub in March of 2022, a couple of days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, coordinating vital support to refugees settling in the UK and delivering humanitarian aid back into Ukraine. The brief explored how the White Eagle could formalise and expand their services to the refugee audience and to help define a system that could be scaled to other agencies. To support this endeavour, the leading design agency Hellon provided expertise and insights.

Our group endeavoured to empathize with the situation via an extensive research process. Exploring the challenges faced by refugees and asylum seekers globally and locally. We interviewed more than 20 different organisations, from charities, UN agencies, local authorities, volunteers, and refugee networks and conducted seven in-depth interviews with Ukrainian refugees.


Refugees face a myriad of barriers to accessing trusted information, which leads to vulnerability and reliance on their first point of contact.

Our vision is a UK with safe and legal routes for all refugees, where individuals can access trusted information about their rights, navigating complex new services and cultures with dignity and agency.

Our mission is to create a refugee-led service platform which enables community members to share lived experiences, easing the challenges of resettlement.

Using a myriad of service design tools including co-creative workshops, journey mapping, blueprinting and prototyping we developed our final service concept entitled Context.

Context is a browser extension which supports refugees by overlaying crowdsourced cultural interpretations of information onto existing websites. Allowing a community of individuals and organisations to provide insights and tips based on their lived experiences.  

It’s like if Grammarly offered culturally interpreted advice instead of spelling & grammar checks. 

Context was co-created, developed, and validated through a series of in-depth interviews, workshops, and feedback sessions with members of the Ukrainian refugee community. We ran ideation and co-creation exercises with stakeholders during our weekly meetings at the White Eagle, charting possible solutions. In the process, we heard enlightening personal stories that informed our final outcome.

Hero image of context app on phone with tag line "Context, your digital friend helping you navigate new journeys"
Collage of photos from workshops and drawings of 'Context' App and web platform
3 insights; cultural interpertation is key, community contact helps, connective tissue is missing
Phones displaying context content, subtext "co-created with the refugee community"
Ethical is new normal, we are living in a new era of fashion

Cher's Closet is a new shopping medium that bridges the gap between eCommerce and traditional brick-and-mortar retail for authentic, socially conscious SMEs.

Now more than ever before, consumers care about brand authenticity. ETHICAL is the new normal. The problem is ethical fashion HASN'T caught up with the experience industry... Up against e-commerce giants like Amazon, and global retailers like H&M- these small to medium size businesses don't have the tools or budget to engage customers with personal experiences. That's where Cher's closet comes in.

Think of it like the SOHO house of ethical fashion. But instead of creating exclusivity around pricey memberships, our club is based around values. Offering like-minded brands and customers a unique way to grow their relationship.

Cher's digital platform aggregates ethical fashion for its members so they can browse easily.  And the space, allows digitally-native brands to showcase their products through events and on-demand try-on sessions. Customers enjoy large fitting rooms that they can share with friends, and through Cher they can even hire on-site services like a personal stylist or tailoring.

How it works:

  • First users browse our product selection online 
  • They then reserve a room at a nearby cher location where their order is delivered
  • They can invite friends, or hire add-on services like a professional tailor.
  • At their appointment cher users enjoy beautifully designed premium fitting rooms to try on their picks
  • When finished they take what they like with them and leave behind what they don't. Paying automatically only for what they keep. 

I want to take small, ethically made fashion brands from struggling to stand-out online to engaging customers with in-person experiences. Allowing them to educate the public on the unique qualities their products offer.

Instead of watching influencers try on clothes on Instagram, Cher's members are experiencing these products IRL

Cher's members shop these brands KNOWING they are going to get the perfect fit and that they can feel good about their love for fashion. 

''cher's closet'' app on phone overlayed with a 3D model of a commercial fitting room space
"How it works", steps 1-4 users browse clothes online, book a room, try stuff on with friends (or not), walk out with purchase
Sequence of renderings showing cher's closet space and experience
slide shows cher's closet company values withicons